The Charlotte Hornets returned home from a short road trip on Wednesday night and extended their win streak to three against the Atlanta Hawks. They took down Trae Young and the Hawks, 116-106.
It marked the first time in two weeks that the Hornets allowed less than 110 points in a game. The last time they accomplished this was on March 2 in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
And while that was an impressive feat, the story against the Hawks was all about how Charlotte defended Young. Terry Rozier talked about his mindset after the win, saying that he was fully focused on slowing down the Hawks’ star point guard.
“Trae Young is an unbelievable player, I think the world knows that. The whole day I was thinking about how tough I wanted to make it for him. I understand he’s gonna make tough buckets. He’s a tough shot maker. He’s a great passer. But my job is to make it as tough as possible for him to do that.”
The Hornets held Young to his lowest scoring total of the season. Young dropped an underwhelming nine points, shooting 3-of-12 from the field and 0-of-6 from three-point land.
Head coach James Borrego also commented on the matter, giving his team credit for their elite defensive effort. Before Wednesday night, Young’s lowest-scoring game was 13 points, and that was back at the end of October.
“They’re a heck of a team, Trae Young’s a hell of a player, but our guys were locked in. They were focused on the game plan. I thought they executed extremely well tonight, holding trade of his lowest point total of the season. Just a fantastic effort defensively.”
In addition, Rozier commented on how important the win was. The Hornets and Hawks are in the midst of a battle for playoff positioning in the East, and this win gave Charlotte a half-game lead.
“I think we all know what the headings are in the East and we know we tied with them, we know how important this game is. But every game from here on out is important. So, we got to pay attention to small details from beginning to end. We’re just glad that we came out with the dub.”
And while the team’s defense was the main factor behind the win, Borrego also gave credit to Charlotte’s great fourth quarter. They closed the game hot, sealing a much-needed win.
“Obviously, closing was significant. We made a little tweak there with our lineup down the stretch. PJ closed, made big shots. Melo and Terry made the right reads, right kicks. Fantastic team win.”
PJ Washington scored 13 points in the span of three minutes, leading the Hornets to a 31-21 scoring advantage in the fourth. LaMelo Ball had five assists in the fourth, too.
As mentioned, the Hornets are now half a game up on the Hawks for eighth in the East, but they are also only one game back of the Brooklyn Nets in seventh. Their next game is this Saturday when they take on the Dallas Mavericks at 7:00 p.m.